Psalm 118:24
The words primarily point to that joyful dedication day of the new temple. Perhaps Israel had been directed specially to observe the day; or, more likely still, the psalmist meant the day of joy and gladness of revived national and religious life. "This is the day the Lord," etc.

I. WE MAY APPLY IT TO OUR LORD'S RESURRECTION-DAY. That has been called the day of days, as indeed it was and is to the Church of Christ. That first Easter Day was "the day in his life which he made his own beyond all others. Not his birthday; for that meant his entrance on a life of sorrows. Not his ascension day; for that was the closing scene of a triumph already achieved. Not his transfiguration-day; for that was a momentary flash of glory in a career of pain. Not the day of his crucifixion; that was a great day for a ruined world, but for him it marked the lowest stage of humiliation and woe. The day of days in the life of Christ was the day of his resurrection." And to the first disciples especially, and to the believing Church still:

1. This day has the joy of deliverance from a great dread. They thought they had but their Lord, and that the redemption of Israel was now but an unfulfilled and impossible dream. But that dread departed, driven forth by the joy of the day of resurrection.

2. And the day brings also the joy of full conviction as to the gospel we believe. Our Lord and his apostles base all belief of that gospel on the Resurrection; they held it, as do we, as an infallible proof.

3. The joy of renewed and radiant hope. "Christ ever liveth:" what now is not possible? For all such reasons the words of the text may be fitly applied to the Easter joy.

II. TO THE LORD'S DAY - THE SABBATH. Who can over-estimate to man's body, mind, heart, and soul what the blessed Sunday brings? Fools and blind are they who, for any reason or by any means, would rob weary-hearted men of this priceless boon.

III. TO THE DAY OF OUR CONVERSION. It is not all that can, nor is it indispensable for any to remember the exact day when that great spiritual change passed upon them. But some have vivid recollection of it; they can tell the time, place, circum stances, and all connected with the day on which they were born again and passed from death unto life. And it may be they are to be envied who can do this, which assuredly many cannot. But they will not hesitate to take such words as these in our text, and apply them to this by them never-to-be-forgotten day.

IV. TO THE DAY OF REVIVAL AND RELIGIOUS PROSPERITY, How blessed such seasons are! God gives them to his Church from time to time. Spring-tide seasons, when there is an energy and quickening and force in the general life of the Church, such as has long been unknown. It was so for Israel when this psalm was first sung, and it has been so many times since. And let no one wait for the whole Church to be thus revived; the blessed time may come - will come, if really longed for - to the individual soul. And that will be a time of joy. - S.C.







This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
The day of days in the life of Christ was the day of His resurrection; and to the early Christians Easter Day was the queen of festivals. Easter should provoke a joy in Christian hearts, greater than any event in our private lives; greater than any in the world's public history; greater than any other even in the life of our Lord Himself. This is the immemorial feeling and sense of Christendom; but why should it be so? why has Easter, why has the resurrection, this extraordinary claim on the buoyancy of the Christian heart?

I. THE JOY OF A GREAT REACTION; a reaction from anxiety and sorrow. So it was at the time of Christ's resurrection. The apostles had been crushed by the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ. When He was in His grave, all seemed over; and when He appeared, first to one, and then to another, on the day of His resurrection, they could not keep their feelings of welcome and delight, — traversed though these were by a sense of wondering awe, — within anything like bounds. "Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord." And this joy of theirs is repeated every year in the greatest feast of the Christian Church. Those who have felt the sorrow feel the joy. Year by year we stand by, in spirit, while Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus lay Him in His grave; and the tension of sincere feeling, of sympathetic sorrow, of penitence and contrition which this implies, is followed by a corresponding reaction on Easter morning.

II. THE JOY OF A GREAT CERTAINTY. The resurrection of our Saviour is the fact which makes an intelligent Christian certain of the truth of his creed. And in this way it satisfies a real mental want, and it occasions keen enjoyment by giving this satisfaction. All else in our creed depends on the resurrection of Christ; and to-day when we remind ourselves of its historical certainty, which is scarcely less illustrated by the apparent contradictions than by the collective and direct force of the accounts which have come down to us, we experience a mental delight at the freshening touch of truth, and cry, "This is the day which the Lord hath made: we will rejoice and be glad in it."

III. THE JOY OF EASTER IS INSPIRED BY THE HOPE WHICH EASTER WARRANTS AND QUICKENS. Hope and Joy are twin sisters. Joy best enters the human soul when leaning on the arm of Hope. As the apostle says, "We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." What is this hope which Easter most distinctly puts before us? and how does it spring from our Saviour's resurrection? The great hope which Easter sets before us is the completeness of our life after death. The difficulty of believing in a future life is due, not to the reason, but to the imagination as controlled by the senses. Who of us has not made this discovery in some one of those dark hours, which sooner or later visit every human life? Who of us has not stood by the open coffin, and felt himself, or marked how others feel, the terrific empire of sense in the presence of death? At such a moment the most modest anticipations of reason are deemed an unsubstantial guess: the clear teaching of revelation a solemn fancy; the mind's sceptre has passed to the imagination and the senses, and they decide that all ends with death, and that the grim secrets of the grave are the measure of man's impotent aspirations after a future existence. Now it was to deal with this specific difficulty that our Lord willed to die, and then, by a literal bodily resurrection, to rise from the grave. Truly we may exclaim with the apostle, that God "hath begotten us again unto a lively hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," and with the psalmist, that "this is the day which the Lord hath made: let us rejoice and be glad in it."

(Canon Liddon.)

I. THIS IS THE DAY WHICH THE LORD HATH MADE GREAT, by giving the most glorious proof of His own greatness; by rising on it from the dead, by being born again of the womb of the earth, to prove Himself God, as His first birth had proved Him to be man.

II. THIS IS THE DAY WHICH THE LORD HATH MADE GLORIOUS, by displaying the glory of His everlasting kingdom, by taking possession of eternal life in His own person, and thereby assuring the same precious blessing to them who by faith lay hold on His promises.

III. THIS IS THE DAY WHICH THE LORD HATH MADE A DAY OF TRIUMPH AND REJOICING, by subduing all the most. formidable enemies of human nature, robbing death of its sting, the grave of its victory, spoiling principalities and powers, triumphing over them, and making a show of them openly: by flinging open the gates of death and hell, proclaiming liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.

IV. THIS IS THE DAY WHICH THE LORD HATH MADE WONDERFUL, by turning dishonour into honour, by converting the ignominy of His death into the glory of a resurrection, the cross on which He suffered into the trophy of His victory, the crown of thorns into a ray of glory.

V. THIS IS THE DAY WHICH THE LORD HATH MADE COMFORTABLE TO ALL THAT MOURN IN ZION, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heartiness.

(A. Grant, D.D.)

I. THE IMPORT OF THE WORDS — "This is the day," etc. The everlasting mercies of God which are celebrated in the four first verses by way of repetition; Christ's being set in a large place (ver. 5), which the prophet elsewhere explains by God's delivering him (Psalm 18:19); his exultation, because he shall see his desire upon them that hate him (ver. 7); his declaring that it is better to trust in the Lord than to put any confidence in man (ver. 8); the power given him to destroy all nations in the name of the Lord (ver. 10). All these expressions, I say, import some effects of his royal dignity, more permanent and extensive, and more evident tokens of the Divine interposition, than can be attributed to the former event; though that was not ejected without the direction of a particular providence. But all these effects, as all other effects of Christ's mediatorial Office, being fully accounted for from the truth of His resurrection, and such facts as were consequential to it; it is most reasonable to consider the text as respecting His resurrection.

II. UPON WHAT REASONS SO EMINENT AND PECULIAR A DISTINCTION OF THIS DAY IS MADE.

1. The resurrection of Christ did evidence the Divine authority of our Saviour, as it could not, upon the principles of the Jews themselves, have been ejected, but only by a Divine power.

2. But the proof, indeed of the Divine mission of Christ from His resurrection does not only affect the Jews, but all other persons indifferently; for granting a power to man of doing very strange and surprising things by means of the union of his soul and body, according to the laws of which they here act upon one another, or upon other bodies; yet, when this union is dissolved, when the soul is incapable of acting either upon its own former body, or any body whatever, how is it possible to conceive that it should be able to restore the bodily organs, which it before informed, either to their proper offices or order again? This can only be the act of God, who made us and fashioned us; by whom, as the psalmist celebrates His wisdom and power, we are so fearfully and wonderfully made; in whose hand is the soul of every living thing; of whom, and through whom, and to whom are all things.

III. WHAT ARE THOSE PROPER ACTS OF JOY AND GLADNESS WHEREWITH IT OUGHT TO BE CELEBRATED.

1. The first and highest expression of our joy on occasion of so extraordinary an act of the Divine power and goodness, ought to consist in those inward and spiritual sentiments which the soul of a good man naturally feels when he reflects on any special mercy of God, or any spiritual good which it is the means of conveying to him; especially in so ample a manner that it is fruitful and diffusive of many other spiritual goods. Such is the Divine mercy which we now commemorate; and therefore, if we commemorate it as we ought, we shall inwardly rejoice in the Lord, according to the joy in harvest, or as men rejoice when they divide the spoil on occasion of so great a flow of Divine blessings upon us all at once.

2. This internal joy ought also to be expressed by some outward and proper significations of it. Acts of religious praise and thanksgiving to God; and. acts of innocent festivity in other external respects.

(R. Fiddes.)

I. THIS DAY IS DISTINGUISHED BY HIS TRIUMPHS — let us hail Him Conqueror.

II. THIS DAY HE CLAIMS AS AN OFFERING — let us present it with joyful obedience.

III. ON THIS DAY HE ADVANCES WITH PECULIAR PRIVILEGES — let us get forth to meet Him with all the ardour of hope.

IV. ON THIS DAY WE DISCERN OUR INTEREST IN THE TRIUMPH OF THE REDEEMER.

(J. Hughes.)

A day, what is it? A space of light between two mountain-walls of darkness; a time of redemption from the kingdom of Chaos and Old Night; the half or the two-thirds of life really given us to live; the season of consciousness, duty, trial; the end and aim for which sleep is given, and the veil of temporary oblivion and rest spread over our faculties so many hours. Wonderful and rich, far beyond the line of our usual appreciation, is the gift of a day. It stands like a monument between the eternity of the past and the eternity of the future. One day! It is little; a fugitive twenty-four hours, a hurried routine, a mill-horse round of cares and toils, a succession of meals, — breakfast, dinner, supper, — a miniature life, "rounded with a sleep," a daybreak of childhood, a morning of youth and hope, a noonday of manhood and activity, a twilight of age and pensiveness, a night of death. How quickly it is here, how soon it is gone! But in this very shortness of a day we discern a benevolent intention. Constituted as we are, we could not bear the burden of a double day. Literally, our "strength is according to our day, and our day according to our strength." They have been weighed and balanced by a sure Hand, one to the other. The mechanical arrangements by which the day is made, the position of the earth and the sun and their respective revolutions, and those of the other planetary and celestial bodies, the nature of the influence exerted on us by the sun through light, heat, and electricity and other elements, too subtle and delicate for our coarse senses to take cognizance of them, all are indications of the Fatherly care over us, and fitted to assure us that "this is the day which the Lord hath made," and to inspire us to "rejoice and be glad in it" We discern a most beneficent intention in the separation and subdivision of our life into daily fragments. Each night is a gentle semi-oblivion, that our past lives may not tyrannize over us, that the door of progress may still be kept open, that we may have in some sense a new and untrammelled being every day. Every night is a faint death, every morning a fresh birth. The blessing of the day depends in no slight degree on the manner in which we begin it, on the key-note of the morning hour. It is well begun by the Almighty Disposer. He gives us a new world, bathed in dew, blushing with the dawn, vocal with the song of birds, while clouds of vapour and smoke rise like columns of incense from hill and vale and human homes to heaven. Fair and gracious world of ours, we feel like saying, how sad and strange it is that we should ever forget that this is a Divine handiwork, or that we should ever abuse such royal gifts by our ingratitude and disobedience! Devotion is the spontaneous service of the morning. To invoke the guardian care of Heaven, and to bless its new mercies, is but a fitting counterpart to all the other beauty, and solemnity, and hope, and renewed life of the world. Shall the birds arise and sing at the gate of heaven, and man feel no uplifting sentiment at the birth of a new day? "Man," says the psalmist, "goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening." That work and labour, the heat and burden of the day, called, in the external and figurative language of the elementary dispensation, "a curse," have proved on long trial, and in the wide experience of a world, to be some of the best blessings of the day. Who has the pleasant, consciousness of being useful? The worker. Who stores up the rich memories of many things done? The worker. Who sleeps sweetly? The worker. Who relishes his food more than the epicure? The hard worker. Who enjoys leisure? He who has used his time so industriously that he has earned a right to be idle. Who can understand the full measure of blessing in a day, bug he who has so earnestly pursued its opportunities that its minutes are to him as gems, and its hours as diamonds? There is great work yet to be done on this planet, — continents to be reclaimed, oceans to be navigated, wild elements to be yoked to the car of human progress, acres of brains to be tilled, Augean stables of moral filth to be purified, swarming multitudes of souls to be touched to finer spiritual issues, vast social Saharas to be clothed with verdure, new and grander organizations in Church and State, and family, and art, and labour, and literature, to be formed, that shall make our modern homes, and sanctuaries and schools, galleries and Crystal Palaces, seem to be but the bungling work of apprentices compared with the productions of the perfect Master-workman. The past history of our race has its representative in the night, — dreamy, sleepy, irresponsible, fearful, often riotous, artificially lighted, addicted to passion, meteor-led night. The ages have been dark ages, and history has been profane, and the earth has not been holy land. But the dayspring from on high hath visited us, and the future is to be a day of action, usefulness, progress, as the past has been a night of preparation, dreams, and darkness.

(A. A. Livermore.)

First, it brings with it a spiritual delight. Secondly, an external gladness which opens itself in signs and tokens. The spiritual delight which we treasure up within the soul looking steadfastly upon Jesus that died for our sins, and rose again for our justification, is heavenly and unutterable, it is a superlative joy that cries down all other petty delights. The external utterances of a pious joy are these —

1. Days of rest from bodily labour; for the meaner labour must give way when a better and a worthier is to be undertaken. And while the mind hath just occasion to make its abode in the house of gladness, the weed of ordinary toil and travel doth not become us; therefore it is fit that ordinary labour should sometimes surrender itself up to the service of God.

2. To laud the name of the Lord, and to give thanks unto Him are the only language of our thankfulness (Psalm 42:5).

3. God doth not deny it, but he that offereth Him praise doth honour Him; but will you know how that honour is best exalted? Make a cheerful noise to the God of Jacob, singing and making melody to the Lord with psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. If the Jews might justly say, how can we sing the Lord's song, while we are in a strange land, while we are in captivity? then we must acknowledge, on the contrary, how can we choose but sing the Lord's song, being delivered out of captivity? Singing of psalms is a most proper exercise of our reasonable service.

4. Another effect of Christian joy is to give, because it abounds. A joy that will not distribute to the needy is a shrunken withered joy, nay, a joy that will carry the curse of God with it, because it wants fruits; and a joy that will carry the curse of the poor with it, because they are suffered to pine and languish in our public gladness.

5. All sorts of mirth and innocent recreation, wherein our substance is not exhausted, nor our time trifled away, are agreeable to our Christian conversation. At our times of respite from sacred offices, to delight our sullen nature with harmless pleasures, it rubs off the rust of melancholy, and puts alacrity in us to rejoice always in the Lord.

(Bp. Hacket.)

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